Research from respected institutions has been collected to support the use of multiple measures for college readiness indicators. Click on the links below to review the research or click here for a Research Summary.


2.8 GPA

How Well Does High School Grade Point Average Predict College Performance By Student Urbanicity and Timing of College Entry?
This report is a companion to a study that found that high school grade point average was a stronger predictor of performance in college-level English and math than were standardized exam scores among first-time students at the University of Alaska who enrolled directly in college-level courses. This report examines how well high school grade point average and standardized exam scores predict college grades by the urbanicity of students’ hometown and timing of college entry. 

Pathways to Middle Class: Balancing Personal and Public Responsibilities
Students with a 2.5 GPA graduating high school (not convicted of a crime or a parent) have a .71 likelihood of reaching the American middle class.

Validity of High-School Grades in Predicting Student Success Beyond the Freshman Year
HSGPA is consistently the strongest predictor of four-year college outcomes for all academic disciplines, campuses and freshman cohorts in the UC sample; surprisingly, the predictive weight associated with HSGPA increases after the freshman year, accounting for a greater proportion of variance in cumulative fourth-year than first-year college grades; and as an admissions criterion, HSGPA has less adverse impact than standardized tests on disadvantaged and underrepresented minority students.

New Study Finds High School Grades Are More Predictive of College Academic Performance than Standardized Tests
A new study of students enrolled in the University of Alaska system found that high school grade point average (GPA) was a better predictor of students’ success in college-level courses than standardized college entrance exams.

The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northwest study examined developmental (remedial) education placement rates and predictors of academic performance among first-time students who enrolled in the University of Alaska System between fall 2008 and spring 2012.


Advanced Placement Exam (3+)

The Relationship between Advanced Placement and College Graduation
Students who take and pass AP exams is the best AP-related indicator of whether the school is preparing increasing percentages of its students to graduate from college.

Barriers to College Attainment: Lessons from Chicago
To better understand how high school performance relates to college access, developed student profile based on a combination of GPA, ACT Score, and two or more AP Courses.


Advanced Placement Course (A, B or C)

The Development of a Multidimensional College Readiness Index
Participation in Advanced Placement provided as an indicator of Academic Rigor (ARI) and component of college readiness.


Dual Credit College English and/or Math (A, B or C)

The Post-secondary Achievement of Participants in Dual Enrollment: An Analysis of Student Outcomes in Two States
Florida Data: Dual enrollment students were statistically significantly more likely to:

  • Persist in college to a second semester
  • Earn higher post-secondary GPA one year and two years after high school graduation
  • Remain enrolled two years after graduating from high school

Effect of dual enrollment participation remained the same, regardless of number of dual enrollment courses (1–5).

Findings in New York data set suggested an intensity effect at 2 or more courses.

  • Male and low-income students benefited more from dual enrollment participation than their peers

College Developmental/Remedial English and/or Math (A, B or C)

Developmental Education: Why and How We Must Change It
60% of community college students are referred to Developmental Education. See pictograph on slide 4 which reflects the percent of students at each developmental education level and odds of completing college level course. Locally developed data suggests only modest success in continued course sequence of college level English and Math.

Developmental Education in Community Colleges: The White House Summit on Community College
Less than 25% of CC students in developmental education complete a degree or certificate within 8 years compared to 40% of non-developmental education students.

Jobs for the Future
In 2013, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 1720, which called for all developmental education offered in the state to be accelerated and graduates of Florida public high schools with a standard diploma exempt from assessment and placement into developmental education. Early results from Florida show no change in student GPAs since the law’s implementation.


Harper College (and peers) Developmental Student Subsequent College-Level Course Success

Success Rate of Developmental Students in Eng101 measures students who successfully completed developmental course work in English and subsequently successfully completed ENG101 (65.61%) has remained relatively stable over the past five years and remains below the target range (67.0-68.0%).  Harper’s rate is below the 2014 peer group average (74.29%) and the 2014 national median (71.71%).

Success Rate of Developmental Students in College-Level Math measures students who successfully completed developmental course work in math and subsequently successfully completed college level math. Harper’s current success rate for college-level math (60.58%) has decreased from the 2013 rate and is slightly below the 2016 target range (61.0-62.0%).  Harper’s rate is below the 2014 peer group average (69.29%) and the 2014 national median.


Algebra II (A, B or C)

Pre-Algebra and Algebra Enrollment and Achievement. Beyond Test Scores: Leading Indicators for Education
Success in Algebra II in high school is linked to both college enrollment and bachelor’s degree attainment. Courses students take in high school are more predictive of [college] success than family income and race.

Connecting Education Standards and Employment: Course-taking Patterns of Young Workers
Algebra II is the benchmark course for students aspiring to highly-paid professional jobs or well-paid, white-collar jobs.  

The Building Blocks of Success: Higher-Level Math for All Students
Algebra is the “gateway” course not just because it as a prerequisite for many high school and post-secondary math, science, engineering, and technology courses, but because it is an intellectual gateway to abstract reasoning. Students who study math at least through Algebra II in high school are more than twice as likely as those who do not to earn a four-year degree, and the level of math a student reaches is the most accurate predictor of whether that student will earn a Bachelor’s degree.


International Baccalaureate Exam (4+)

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: Examining College Readiness
A study by the Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC) published in May 2014 used student data from the University of Oregon to determine that students who participated in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program in high school were more likely than those who did not to earn post-secondary degrees, persist over two years and earn higher GPAs in their first two years of college.

High school rigor and good advice: Setting up students to succeed
In fact, a study under the guidance of Jim Hull, senior policy analyst at the Center for Public Education found that low achieving students and students from a low socioeconomic background who took an AP or IB course were 17 percent more likely to persist in four year colleges and 30 percent more likely to persist in two year colleges. The more courses they took, the higher their persistence levels.


Standardized Test Scores

Development of a College Readiness Benchmark and its Relationship to Secondary and Post-Secondary School Performance
College Board report establishing benchmark scores associated with specific grades in corresponding college courses.

The Condition of College and Career Readiness
ACT report establishing benchmark scores associated with specific grades in corresponding college courses.